Zinab Zaki’s family came to Spain from Morocco when she was 3 years old. She had a very Catalan childhood, but always with a respect and love for her family’s Arab roots. She began catering Moroccan food in the Maresme area, serving her dishes on mendils—the multi-purpose textiles typical to north of Morocco that can be used as blankets, rugs, throws and tablecloths.
One of her clients, Jennifer Allerson Zins, was as impressed by the textiles as she was by the food, and together they decided to start the Can Zin brand. Each Can Zin mendil is based on a traditional Moroccan design with a modern Mediterranean touch, and is hand made by local artisans who re-use wool from sweaters purchased at second-hand markets. Zinab also makes personalized memory mendils made from sweaters that have a specific sentimental value to the owner.
Zinab is also passionate about preserving the art of mendil making. While many people are familiar Berber handira blankets and Turkish kilim rugs, few are familiar with Jbala mendils. And younger generations are not learning the weaving technique. Zinab wants to change that. She sees mendils as an opportunity to improve the economic conditions of local artisans and to restore pride to people in the region where she was born.